Martha Valiant MD

Obituary of Martha E Valiant MD

Martha "Marty" E. Valiant, M.D. died peacefully at home in LaBelle, Fla. on July 31, 2021 at the age of 84. Her more than 40-year career as a physician and advocate for children and public rural health improved the lives of many thousands of children and families. Marty was born in New York in 1936 to Rubye Lee and Wilson Korbel Valiant. Choosing nursing as a career, Marty graduated from Huron Road Nursing College in Ohio. But soon, her love of medicine and keen intellect led her to pursue a career as a physician. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University School of Medicine in 1969 and completed a residency in Pediatrics at Duke in 1973, including serving as Chief Resident of Pediatrics. Her interest in public health also led her to add a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina to her already extensive education in 1970. After residency, she became an Associate Professor for Duke University, and worked at a community health center in Durham. She supervised rotations of Duke Pediatric Residents and Physician Assistant students. In 1976, Marty moved to Clewiston, Florida, where she began to deeply connect with rural health care as she worked for the Palm Beach County Health Department in Belle Glade. Marty subsequently opened her private pediatrics practice in Clewiston, for a time providing the only pediatric specialty for families in the region. She maintained her private practice until she moved back into public health, culminating in her role as Director of the Hendry-Glades Health Department from 1991 to 2005. There, she created an imprint of her own as a physician who was truly dedicated to the health of the people of Hendry and Glades Counties. Marty had an incredible impact on thousands of families over her career as a private physician and leader in public health. That impact in the community was reflected in Hendry County leaders' decision to name the Health Department building in Clewiston after her upon her retirement. She also shared her passion for health care with many non-profit organizations, including Healthy Start of Southwest Florida, The Children's Hospital Health Planning Council, Hendry-Glades Behavioral Health and the Children's Advocacy Center. She was presented with many accolades throughout her career including the Outstanding Woman in Public Health Award from the USF College of Public Health, the Florida Rural Health Association’s Wendell Rollason Award, the Sidney S. Chipman Award, the Healthy Start Lifetime Achievement Award and the Greater LaBelle Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year Award. Most recently, she was honored to be named by PBS-affiliated television station WGCU, to its list of 21 Southwest Florida Makers, Women Who Made a Difference. In an interview in 2014 for her distinction as a Florida Public Health Hero, she explained simply what she wanted for her legacy. She said, "I hope that I am remembered as a doctor who made a difference in the lives of children and their families in rural communities.” In that vein, her family and friends have established the Martha E. Valiant M.D. Foundation which will benefit causes close to her heart in the area of health. Donations to the Foundation can be made via check to US Charitable Gift Trust, C/O Renaissance Philanthropic Solutions Group, 8910 Purdue Rd, Suite 500, Indianapolis, IN 46268 with a memo line of Martha E. Valiant M.D. Foundation. Her life will be celebrated in a private family memorial

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